By Steve Svetovich
After a one year suspension due to lack of participation, Holy Cross head football coach Dave Gatto build together enough players to field a team this season.
“Nobody figured we would be playing this year, but we are,” said coach Gatto, now in his third year as Crusader head football coach after serving four years an an assistant.
There are 21 players on the Holy Cross roster this season, with only a five-game schedule due to COVID-19.
“We are expecting a couple more players to join the team,” said Gatto. “Most of the guys who came out for this year’s team never played before. We have only two seniors, eight juniors, seven sophomores and four freshmen. We were trying to get to 19 or 20 players to field a team and we did.
“It is going to be a learning experience.”
Coach Gatto is assisted by Vince Coviello, Chris Coviello, Joe Giorgio, Jake Gatto, T.J. McDonnell and Jim Talarico.
“I have a great coaching staff.”
Holy Cross lost its first game of the season, 56-7, to powerhouse Lackawanna Trail, Friday, Oct, 2, at Clinton Township.
Holy Cross scored late in the contest on a two yard touchdown burst by Wyett Walchak. A Logan Tierney 39-yard kickoff return set the Crusaders up at the Lackawanna Trail 35. A personal foul penalty aided the touchdown drive. Walchak booted the extra point.
The Crusaders will play another powerhouse, Old Forge, Saturday, October 10. Holy Cross will finish the short season against Montrose, Holy Redeemer and Susquehanna.
Junior Sean Herbert, who never played football before this season, is the team’s quarterback. “He’s a good athlete and a smart kid,” said Gatto. “He can move and he’s learning a lot. He never played before, so we are happy for him.”
Herbert worked out on conditioning and lifting with the football team last season before the decision was made to not field a team for 2019.
He worked out on his own getting ready for 2020 and even served as a recruiter getting enough other students to suit up this season in order to field a team.
Other players on the team include senior lineman Robert Kane, senior fullback/linebacker Brandon Ludovici, junior wide receiver Zach Luciani, junior linemen Nick Cabets, Matt Tucker and Gurpreet Lahl, junior backs Gavyn Grems and Cameron Moczulski, sophomore tight end/middle linebacker Tierney, sophomore two-way tackle Andrew Naim, sophomore center Vince Tananna, sophomore guard Cody Schoonover, sophomore running backs Walczak and Fred Strein, sophomore tight end Bobby Staples, freshman tackle Chris Petrucci and freshmen receivers Kevin Whelen, Connor Art and Brandon Art.
Holy Cross continues to play its home games at Monsignor Crotti Field at Saint Anthony’s Playground, Dunmore.
Holy Cross has a male enrollment of 109 students.
“We re a very young team,” said coach Gatto. “Most of these kids never played football before, but they really wanted to play. They are willing to learn.
“We were willing to throw them into the water. The attitude has been great so far. Our first two opponents are extremely tough, but we feel the team will be very competitive the final three games.
“We are a small school. Last season, a few of the seniors left. The perfect storm hit us and knocked us out, so we could not field a team.
“Our principal, Ben Tolerico, was in favor of us fielding a team this year. We put a team of 21 together and expect a couple more. So we have something going for now and the future here at Holy Cross. And the enthusiasm and attitude has been great. They are learning week by week.”
Holy Cross plays in the Lackawanna Football Conference Division IV.